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Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

aka TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ is the jaw bone and it comprises two Joints on either side of the head where it connects with the skull. It’s a sliding hinge joint and any kind of abnormality or problem in the joints could lead to pain in the jaw joint or in the movement controlling muscles of the joint.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Pain in the joint
  • Painful mouth opening
  • Pain during chewing
  • Pain in surrounding areas like face, head, ear, etc.
  • Temporal Headache
  • Joints make sounds while opening or closing
  • The locking of the jaw makes it difficult to open or close the mouth

Causes of TMJ Disorders:

The TMJ comprises bone covered with cartilage to avoid direct contact with the skull. Cartilage helps in shock absorption, and bone damage due to movement & keeps the movement of joint smooth.

The Painful Joint could occur due to:

  • Disc erosion or movement of the disc from its original place.
  • Joint cartilage damage due to diseases like arthritis
  • Trauma to the joint

Only a few causes are known for the disorder rest of the causes of the disease are not clear yet.

Risk factors:

  • Joint involving diseases like arthritis
  • Jaw injury
  • Long term grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Connective tissue disorders etc.

How to diagnose TMJ Disorders?

For TMJ disorder we should get Investigated


  • Dental X-Ray if any tooth decay is seen
  • Orthopantomogram (OPG)
  • CT of the joint

How do you treat TMJ Disorders?

First and foremost is to diagnose the cause and then treat it.


  • Pain Killers & Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Muscle Relaxant
  • Steroids to relieve the swelling
  • Tricyclic antidepressant

Exercises / Splints help in relieving pain & strengthening the joint. It could be used as additional treatment with the medication.

Surgical Options:

  • Arthrocentesis: the fluid in the joints is injected into the joints to clean the debris/ or inflammatory elements from the joints by a thin needle.
  • Steroid Injections: These locally reduce the inflammation-causing relief in the painful joints.
  • TMJ Arthroscopy: by inserting arthroscope joints are visualized and treated according to the findings.
  • Modified Condylotomy: it’s surgery of the Condyle of Mandible to help in relieving the pain of the joints.
  • TMJ Replacement: it’s a radical procedure and rarely performed since the cause could always be addressed and treated before taking an extreme surgical path.
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In this post, we’ve covered the diseases and treatment options of TMJ. I hope the post was helpful in understanding the Temporomandibular Joints.

Be Happy & Be Healthy  

Disclaimer: This article is for reference purposes only, under no circumstances it should be used as a replacement for medical opinion by Professionals. Any decision regarding health and health care should be taken after professional advice only. Health care advice and information shared by the author are best to her knowledge. We disclaim all responsibilities for any inadvertent omission/ commission by the author or the website.


  • Scott & Brown Otolaryngology 7th Ed.

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